Enterprises seeking to leverage Internet of Things (IoT) technology need clear business cases and vendors that provide end-to-end solutions with long-term support before they will be willing to adopt IoT, according to an executive from Avnet, a leading IoT company.

Although some may dispute exactly how many billions of IoT devices will be connected within a particular timeline, IoT’s potential to transform industry sectors is “definitely not hype,” according to Lou Lutostanski, Avnet’s vice president of Internet of Things. However, the lack of clear business cases and a very fragmented IoT ecosystem are preventing enterprises from fully embracing the technology today, he said.

“We at Avnet believe there are three reasons why IoT is not being adopted, and it’s because of risk,” Lutostanski said during his keynote address at IoT World 2018 last month in Santa Clara, Calif. “The risks are associated with the business case. It’s also associated with implementation. The last piece is that you’ve got risk associated with lifecycle management.

“We believe that the risks can be overcome. Once that happens, IoT will accelerate and be mainstream—not only in business but also in popular culture.”

Developing a solid business case is crucial to any IoT project to help remove some of the risk associated with the effort, Lutostanski said. All vendors in the IoT ecosystem should work to ensure that enterprises have a good business case prior to embarking on an IoT initiative, he said.

“The business case is the blueprint for IoT,” Lutostanski said. “Without the blueprint, you’re using technology for technology’s sake.”

Without a good business case, most IoT efforts are doomed to “proof-of-concept purgatory,” in which valuable resources—sometimes thousands of man hours—are devoted to developing technology and systems that are never implemented, Lutostanski said.

“The fact of the matter is that, without a business case, you get proofs of concept that result in nothing,” he said. “The potential for [IoT] disruption in any industry is incredible, if we can identify those business cases and marry them with technology.”

In addition, the process of implementing IoT needs to be streamlined for the enterprise, Lutostanski said.

“IoT implementation is very complex,” Lutostanski said. “It’s complicated, because it involves OT for devices and IT … and a whole bunch of unknowns in between.

“There are a lot of people who talk about the fact that IoT takes 10-20 people for implementation. I can’t speak directly to the numbers, but I can tell you that the more people who are involved in the implementation, the riskier a proposition it is—there’s more opportunities for things to fall through the cracks. I can also tell you that, when you rely on the customer to pull all of these individuals together, the risk increases tenfold.”